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How Early Fall Came This Year

Between the rows
of tomato plants
shrunken in their cages
and cannis bulbs
buried in the snow
my daughter follows me
asks me at last
why I wear a coat
without buttons
shoes without laces

I tell her I'm a fool
in a dream of magic

drop to my knees
like a penitent seal

and while she laughs
I make up more

tell her the buttons
were stirred into soup
the laces when sold
bought the secret of bread

she doesn't need
to know my thoughts
are always with my father
dying of the blood
that survived the camps
the memories of the baby
left in the field
with the beets

the real magic

only six she'd understand
his gray voice as I did
shaping a world out of
lightning and ashes

 

©1999 John Guzlowski

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